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La Jolla’s Mid-Century Modern Scene

Mar 2, 2015

Want to feel like a real rat packer?  Turn on Sinatra and take a driving tour of La Jolla’s famous Mid-Century Modern Architecture. The 1950’s and 1960’s were happening decades in the La Jolla architecture scene. This group of architects is famous for cutting edge in modern building design.

Russell Forester 1920-2002 His portfolio is known for geometric painting and clean rectangular architecture. A La Jolla High School grad who served in WWII as a draftsman for the Army Corps of Engineers, Forester was influenced by Mies Van Der Rohe’s Institute of Design.

Henry Hester 1925-2006 Hester also served in WWII. After graduating for USC’s school of architecture in 1947, Hester moved to La Jolla. Hester’s design was widely published through Julius Schulman’s timeless images.

(photo courtesy of Salk Institute and map Historical Society)

William Krisel  b.1924 Krisel entered USC as a 16 year old just before the attack on Pearl Harbor.  After the war Krisel, returned to USC on the GI Bill and studied under modernists such as Cal Straub. Krisel is known for bringing quality design to housing tracts in Southern California.

Frederick Liebhardt 1924-1999 Liebhardt was fascinated by Frank Lloyd Wright’s drawings the 1940’s. Frederick and his wife Mimi attended Wright’s Taliesin fellowship. Upon moving to La Jolla he collaborated with fellow Taliesin grad Loch Crane then launched a multi decade long partnership with Eugene (Gene) Weston III.

Dale Naegle 1928-2011 Naegle graduated from USC in 1954 at the apex of the modernist movement in Southern California. He was mentored by William Perriera and A Quincy Jones. Naegle brought design esthetics from Arts and Architecture magazine and USC’s architecture program to La Jolla.

Robert Mosher b.1920 Moser studied under and worked with some of the architecture greats of the 1940’s. He moved to La Jolla after his father bought land on Prospect Street. In 1940 Mosher opened his office at the Green Dragon Colony.

Sim Bruce Richards 1908-1983 Richards is of Cherokee descent and lived in Oklahoma. He studied architecture at UC Berkeley and joined Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin fellowship in the mid 1930’s. He moved to San Diego in 1938 and reinterpreted Wright’s residential architecture philosophy for decades from his office off Prospect Street.

Louis Kahn 1901-1974 Kahn is known for his meticulous and monumental works in the US, Bangladesh and India .  He was influenced more by ruins of ancient buildings than his Beaux Arts trainings. He did not narrow down his style until he was in his 50’s. Kahn also taught at Penn and Yale.

If you want to drive by these sites here is the map you can follow. Or go on the Historical Society’s website

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